Parlington Hall :: The Estate :: The Railway Bridge & Dark Arch

Footbridge from the Hall to the Deer Park

The header picture is a virtual model overlay on the 1908 Ordnance Map of the gardens of Parlington Hall and the relationship to the Dark Arch and Railway. If you imagine the map as a level playing field, the garden ramped up from a low point near the fountain, to the right in the picture, passed on top of the tunnel, then beyond and below came the sunk fence, which was an ideal fit for the railway, both the early horse drawn affair and the later steam engines. The view shows the sunk fence as in the railway cutting, curving to the right, as we look west, along the back wall of the Dark Arch. The train, shown just approaching the footbridge, is heading back towards Garforth! The railway track bed and Parlington Lane roadway, coloured brown. The train track is probably at the original ground level, or thereabouts, the Dark Arch being set lower, so that the gardens which were filled to pass over the top of the structure, afforded an uninterupted view into the Deer Park, and no view of the passing horse drawn coal waggons as they laboured on route to Aberford and back to Garforth.

MW Empress at the Dark Arch

The views above and below show the bridge from Parlington Lane, again with the train approching. The images are not meant to be photorealist, but based on the accurate O.S. layout make good sketches. The landscape is somewhat triangulated, as I do not have an accurate set of contours for the area, but the general topography is roughly similar to that which exists today!

Dark Arch Plan

The next picture below is a plan of the Dark Arch area, which needs to be zoomed, by clicking here or on the picture to get a reasonable view of how the various parts are related.

Photograph of the Footbridge

The footbridge picture which was taken in the 1930's some years after the closure of the railway, first drew my attention to this section of the railway. The 1908 Ordnance Survey Plan shows the bridge but on its own provides little data to imagine how it looked. The Artifacts Section (Intro) and (Bridge) has a seven page article which covers the photographs from the 1930's. But after discovering the old pictures I have always hankered after re-producing a clearer scene of how the footbridge, Dark Arch, Sunk Fence, and Railway were related so with this imagery I hope I have brought to a virtual life the location!

Some Notes on the Footbridge

The stone plinths which supported the bridge on the top of the tunnel are still in position [see picture below], however there is no evidence of any of the structure at the other side in the former Deer Park. Also as to whether the bridge was symetrical with each set of steps having the same number of treads is unclear, I have assumed this to be the case, but in so doing I have had to adjust the landscape to fit on the south side. I may well be wrong about this but it was only when I set out the various datums in the 3D application, (SketchUp Pro) that it became obvious that something was amiss! Also for clarity I have not included the handrail and balusters, so if you fall off while reading this, be warned, there are no health and safety concerns here, we are back in the long distant past.

Footbridge Stone Plinths

The foundation plinths for the footbridge

A View of the Footbridge Plinths from the South Embankment

The foundation plinths for the footbridge

The two bridge plinths are clearly visible above the Dark Arch south wall, the tree in the background is the Cedar of Lebanon which still adorns the gardens at Parlington.
Estate Railway Three

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